Saturday, April 2, 2016

S. Hassell on the 1689 Confession

"The Union Of All True Primitive Baptists"
Williamston, N.C., February 1901 (SEE HERE)

"During the last fifty years, and especially during the last twenty or thirty years, there have been many carnal, human (1 Cor. iii.), distressing, and ruinous strifes and divisions among Primitive Baptists, and for the last two or three years the fleshly biting and devouring of one another (Gal. v. 15) have become worse than ever, so that it almost seems, in some parts of the United States, as though the Lord had forsaken some of our people..."

Notice first that the great historian is talking about the period of time from 1850 to 1900, a most important period in the history of the Hardshell denomination. Hardshells today generally know very little about their history, and certainly do not know about the changes in doctrine and practice that have occurred among them since 1832.

Hassell continued:

"In the 17th century the Particular or Predestinarian Baptists of England and Wales declared, in the London Confession of 1689, what they believed the Scriptures taught in regard to God and man, predestination and election, creation and providence, the fall of man, the covenant of grace, the mediation of Christ, regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, repentance and faith, good works, the final perseverance of the saints, the law and the gospel, Christian liberty and liberty of conscience, religious worship, the civil magistrate, marriage, the church, the communion of saints, baptism and the Lord's Supper, the state of man after death, the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment. In the 18th century the Particular or Predestinarian Baptists of the United States re-affirmed and adopted these same Articles of Faith. In the 19th century all the Primitive Baptist churches of the United States either already had or adopted, substantially, though in a shorter form, these same Articles of Faith; and in the closing year of that century, 1900, the General Meetings of Primitive Baptists at Oakland City, Ind., and Fulton, Ky., unanimously re-affirmed and re-adopted the old London Baptist Confession of Faith." 

"In 1850 Elder Burwell Temple, editor of The Primitive Baptist, the oldest Southern Primitive Baptist periodical, republished at Raleigh, N. C., in pamphlet form, bound in sheep-skin, the London Baptist Confession of Faith. My father, Elder C. B. Hassell, who began the Church History, collected the very oldest editions of the London Confession that he could obtain, and incorporated the full original text, with all the Scripture citations, in our Church History. Thus the London Baptist Confession of Faith is the most fully and widely authorized statement of what Primitive Baptists believe the Scriptures to teach in regard to spiritual and eternal truths. Our fathers were neither fools nor hypocrites; and spiritually we are neither wiser nor better than they were; indeed past and present facts prove that we are their inferiors in spiritual matters."

Based upon what Hassell here says, are Hardshells correct to say that the London confession has never been a criterion for deciding who is an original Baptist? Also, if conformity to this old confession determines who is and who is not a "Primitive" Baptist, then those Hardshell churches today who reject the confession have no claim to being "old" "primitive" or "original." Further, those Hardshells today, like Michael Ivey and Harold Hunt, who think the 1689 confession is no determiner of who is "old Baptist," think they are wiser than their forefathers, the thing Hassell scoffed at, when they are in fact "their inferiors." I have only one intention in my writings, and that is to get the Hardshells back to the old faith.

It is also a shame that Sylvester would later in his life (in that period when factions were warring as never before), deny what the confession said on the use of means in effectual calling, though his father Cushing Biggs never did. In doing this, Sylvester was going against his own advice and condemning himself, believing that he was superior in this area of doctrine than his own father.

Hassell continued:

"Every Primitive Baptist family ought to have and keep and read the London Baptist Confession of Faith, and, asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to search the Scriptures reverently and diligently to ascertain whether the doctrinal statements of the Confession are true or not, and having learned that these statements are scriptural and eternal truths, they should never, for any earthly consideration, deny or compromise them, nor be moved from them, in the least degree, by any member or minister or editor or author, whether Arminian or Predestinarian."

Well, amen to that!


Chad O'Quinn said...


Chad O'Quinn said...

I read it to my family, it has been a great blessing to me!